Pending Sales of U.S. Homes Slip From 6-Year High

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Pending sales of U.S. homes fall from 6-year high
Gene J. Puskar/APIn this Tuesday, July 23, 2013, photo, a home is for sale in Mt. Lebanon, Pa.
By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes dipped in June from a six-year high in May, a sign that sales could stabilize over the next few months.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its seasonally adjusted index for pending home sales ticked down 0.4 percent to 110.9 in June. The May reading was revised lower by a percentage point to 111.3, but it was still the highest since December 2006.

The slight decline suggests higher mortgage rates may be starting to slow sales. Still, signed contracts are 10.9 percent higher than they were a year ago. There is generally a one- to two-month lag between a signed contract and a completed sale.

Economists were relieved after seeing only a modest decline. They said that shows higher mortgage rates are having only a small impact on the home sales market.

"All told ... pending home sales held up fantastically well," Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG, an institutional brokerage, said in a note to clients.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has jumped a full percentage point since early May and reached a two-year high of 4.51 percent in late June.

Rates surged after Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Federal Reserve could slow its bond-buying program later this year if the economy continues to improve. The Fed's bond purchases have kept long-term interest rates low, encouraging more borrowing and spending.

In recent weeks, Bernanke and other Fed members have stressed that any change in the bond-buying program will depend on the economy's health, not a set calendar date.

Since those comments, interest rates have declined. The average on the 30-year mortgage was 4.31 percent last week.

Even with higher mortgage rates, signed contracts increased in the West last month. They were unchanged in the Northeast and fell in the South and Midwest.

Home sales and prices have climbed since early last year, buoyed by solid hiring and historically low mortgage rates. Housing has been an important driver of economic growth this year as other parts of the economy have languished, such as manufacturing and business investment.

Sales of previously occupied homes slipped last month, after a big rise in May to the highest level in 3 ½ years.

But new-home sales jumped in June to the fastest pace in five years, boosting confidence that the housing recovery is strengthening.

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The Paterfamilia

This is a joke? In 2005, when the Bubble Popped what was the Seasonally Adjusted Index... 126.9 or 127? Let me get my fingers out... Let's see that's, 126.9... Minus 110.9... WOW!!! What was those greedy Banks thinking raising their rates a year before the Fed Chair even starts thinking of TAPERING, which would take how many months before the Prime Rate to the Banks MIGHT start increasing?

I know... Silly me!!! As if it was the Banks fault that the Housing crisis occurred... I'm SOOOO... SORRY!!! I'm acting as if, it was the BANKS that had packaged a huge amount of WORTHLESS LOANS and pawned them off and thwarted Millions of Hard Working Americans Dreams of Retirements!!! And we are only 16% lower than back then too, it is not like their properties were worth 30 or 40% more then too!!!

Yes Mr. Fed Chair, FLAIL YOUR ARMS AND ANNOUNCE MORE PASSING THOUGHTS AT THE EXPENSE OF MILLIONS OF EARTHS FUTURE HUMANITY!!! We can't have our Home Owners visioning any prospective Pride of Ownership of their own in a Capitalist Economy like here in AMERICA!!! Equity should be properly SKIMMED at the Wall Street Level so Humanity continues to suffer in their proper Class of the well Exploited Masses... BULHA, HA, HA, Hah!!! ;>D A$$ Holes!!!

July 31 2013 at 8:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jdykbpl45

Unexpectedly???

July 29 2013 at 3:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply